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The new manifesto

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Sheikh Javaid
Special Report
The new manifesto

Government change widely welcomed for a prosperous and economically stable Pakistan

Oct 25 - 31, 1999

In a way, people in Pakistan generally welcomed the change in the government on Oct 12,1999.

The reasons were obvious. On top of the list was ever increasing and back-breaking price hike which severally hit the buying power of general masses. The overall system of the government was almost caved in due to rampant corruption, mal-administration and unabated law and order situation. The people of ruling class in the so called democratic system were above the board and were not accountable for their deed or misdeed. The situation was so depressed that people had started losing hope for the future of their children as well as of the country.

Under this grave situation, people gave a welcoming hand by displaying their silence over the change in the government by Military generals.

Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf, in his fresh manifesto gave policy guidelines to pull the country out of persisting economic crisis.


Strengthen federation and removal of inter-provincial disharmony through restoration of national cohesion is one of the most outstanding feature of the new manifesto declared by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, after assuming the charge as the Chief Executive of the country.

It is unfortunate that most of the political governments, instead of playing the role of a binding force to forge national harmony among various segments of the society, used the nasty tactics of divide and rule to prolong their party rule. Various political forces, setting aside the golden principles of "Faith, Discipline and Unity" left by Quaid-e-Azam as a political will, preferred to operate on regional, ethnic and sectarian grounds which consequently unleashed parochial feelings and hatred against each other hence weakened the basic ideology which had provided the basis for creation of this country. The unabated process of degradation has reached a stage where majority of the political parties carry an stigma of representing a particular province instead of being a national identity of representing people as a national party.

Revival of the national spirit among the masses undoubtedly is the need of the hour because that was the national spirit which had created Pakistan and that is the only spirit now which can arrest the decaying socio-economic and political values in the society.


Revive economy and restore investors' confidence is yet another target of the new manifesto.

In order to achieve this cherished goal, people at the helm of affairs will have to identify the grey areas responsible for bringing the economy at the brink of disaster. Some of these areas include the curse of living beyond the means. How our ministers and other government officials with in the limited salary they are getting can afford to live in posh bungalows, drive luxurious automobiles and send their children to United States for education and visit abroad on pleasure trips? The answer is very simple and that is nothing but "corruption". We have to do away with this living beyond means fashion just by eliminating the culture of "corruption" eating our economy. Infact these parasites of corruption are alive at the cost of our economy. The national economy cannot flourish until and unless an effective pesticide of accountability is used to eliminate these blood suckers. The national wealth would continue to go to their pockets instead of going into the national exchequer. Besides corruption, consistency of government policy is another area which should be ensured and protected to restore the confidence of the investors both from abroad and within the country. Frequent change in the policy has often played havoc to investment climate in the country. The abrupt change in the financial policy of the government in 1998 when the government had frozen the foreign currency accounts on May 28 after nuclear blast had adversely affected the confidence of the investors. The present government on Oct 12 had pronounced emergency in the country but a ban on bank accounts was not imposed. Since the banks were operating normally, there was a small withdrawal of $15 million during first two three days however people against deposited these dollars with the banks when the realized that things are normal and there is no need of panic. Had the similarly cool and composed attitude adopted by the government in 1998 and ban on foreign currency accounts had not been imposed the situation would have been entirely different.

Another example in the shift of government policy is the on going tussle with the IPPs. The noise of the controversy was heard with in the country as well as abroad as the Hub Power has already called on International Chamber for justice. Such ugly noises always scare the investors as the money always avoids risks and seeks safer places. Long term and consistent policies through good governance should be the slogan of the new manifesto to restore the confidence of the investors.

The Chief Executive, Gen. Pervez Musharraf has declared that strict measures would be taken against loan defaulters, tax evaders and all others responsible for the present economic crisis.

The State Bank of Pakistan, according to official reports has briefed to the new government about all domestic and international issues.

The military authorities have directed the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) to undertake fresh tax assessment of the big and influential tax evaders, particularly belonging to textiles, sugar and cement industries.

The CBR authorities have been advised to re-examine cases of large tax evasions. During this exercise the specialists in accounts and corporate law would be deployed to re-assess the tax evasion cases.

The drive against tax evaders is going to take momentum in the days ahead and the recovery of a huge defaulted amount running in billions of rupees is likely to be recovered.

The economic agenda, announced by the Gen.Pervez Musharraf, emphasizes upon revival of the national economy.

Among the revolutionary steps declared include ruthless accountability, allowing no room for bank defaulters and tax evaders. The process of accountability will be directed towards plunderers of government money, tax evaders and bank defaulters. Even the write-offs would have to be coughed up.

The defaulters have been advised to voluntarily return the bank loans within a month upto November 16, after that deadline they would be dealt according to the book.

The programme includes: to restore confidence of investors at home and abroad, increase domestic savings, boost agriculture, turn state enterprises profit making and adopt strict austerity measures.

the aims and objectives before the new government are to rebuilt national confidence, stem disharmony, restore law and order, devolving of powers and carrying out of swift accountability. He added that good government was a pre-requisite for all these objectives.

Gen. Musharraf feels that the country stood at the cross-roads of destiny which we can make or break. In the darkening environment, there was a beacon of hope as the economy was crumbling fast, credibility was lost, state institutions were demolished and provincial disharmony was rife endeavouring the federation.

the country was not poor but endowed with great richness in the form of fertile lands, water resources and untapped minerals and a dynamic and industrious people.

The General has also observed that the revival of economy was critical. The economy was in deep trouble and revolutionary steps were needed to put it back on track. the people had been subjected to betrayal of their trust. Their hard earned money was frozen or taxed in violation of state commitment. We need to restore this trust.

To revitalize the economy, in addition to measures like recovery of the looted national wealth, a task that will be ruthlessly pursued.


* Rebuilding of investors' confidence through stability and consistency in economic policies and economic security

The objective is to encourage the local investors, overseas Pakistanis and foreign investors

*Increase domestic savings

* Carry out pragmatic tax reforms

*Turn around the state enterprises towards profitability

*Boost agriculture and revive industry

* Strict austerity measures


Ensure law and order and dispense speedy justice is also inter-connected with the new manifesto of the government for revival of socio- economic life of the country. The persistent law and order situation for over a decade which claimed thousands of lives in Karachi alone has shattered the confidence of the people in the government, administration as well as the judiciary. This is a dangerous indication because when the citizens lose respect for the entire system they also lose their hearts and love for their country. This area again need immediate and sincere attention of the people at the helm of affairs. Due to persistent law and order situation the wheel of industry do not move for most of the days in the year, economic activity come to a stand still, educational institutional present a deserted looked as the parents avoid to take risk of life of their children to schools or colleges where no security of life is ensured. The disturbed and volatile conditions created a bad impression about the country specially the foreign investors who prefer to move such countries where life or property is not at risk due to law and order. It is the most tragic and torturous point of the situation that only goonda elements are not responsible for creating law and order situation, some political forces, religious factions, government agencies and officials were also contributors in the gory drama of law and order for trifling with life and honour of the innocent citizens.


Across the board accountability is the most appealing part of the new manifesto.

Why people have welcomed the new system of rule led by General Pervez Musharraf? Mainly because they were being deprived of their bread due to unprecedented back breaking price hike. Contrary to their promises, the civilian rulers had failed to control inflationary pressures. Instead they were pressurized by the international donor agencies like IMF etc and increased prices of essential commodities on the dictates of IMF. Frankly speaking people was accountability of the ruling class and their powerful and influential touts who led the economy at the brink of collage due to their unchecked plundering of the national resources. One can only hope that the new set-up would rise to the occasion.